Pedestrian Safety: 16 Things You Should Know

When it comes to forklift safety, a lot of emphasis is placed upon safe forklift operation, as it should be. What we see quite frequently, though, is a lack of training for employees working in a warehouse situation but who do not operate forklifts but merely work around them all day, every day. Working around them without knowledge pertaining to their potential hazards creates a dangerous scenario for catastrophe.
We recommend formal classroom training for all of your facility employees who could encounter a forklift in the course of their responsibilities. This training should cover the following:
  • Visibility: The operator’s vision is severely limited, especially when carrying a load. There are many other pitfalls of assuming that the operator is aware of the employee’s presence.
  • Eye contact: Employees should try to make eye contact with an operator. This ensures that the operator is fully aware of the employee’s presence. Busy operators may or may not be aware of the pedestrian, and any sudden move could result in a collision.
  • Stopping: A 7,000-lb. forklift carrying a 5,000-lb. load can not stop as quickly as a car, and if the operator slams on the brakes to avoid an employee, the employee could find 5,000 pounds of product hurtling in his direction.
  • Keeping your distance: Never approach a forklift from the rear. Keep beyond three feet of the side, and never stand in front of a forklift or on the forks. This keeps the pedestrian safe should any sudden movement of the forklift occur.
  • Forklifts cannot be heard: Electric forklifts are completely silent, and even internal combustion units can approach without being heard in a busy, noisy facility. Be certain that all pedestrians understand this and are diligently LOOKING for lift trucks and equipment at all times, particularly at intersections.
The potential dangers of working around this equipment: Rear ends swing wide, loads can spill, toes can be run over, and many other dangers exist if the employee is not cognizant of how to behave around a forklift. Lift trucks present a number of dangers. The operators are aware of these hazards, but pedestrians often consider forklifts benign pieces of equipment.
  • Falling loads: When walking near a lift truck depositing or retrieving a load at various heights, a pedestrian should know that loads can tumble down. The pedestrian should avoid the area at all costs.
  • Wide swings: The rear of the forklift can swing quickly to one side or the other, resulting in collision with a pedestrian or running over feet.
  • Weight: People rarely understand that forklifts are very heavy machines that cannot stop quickly. A collision often results in serious injury and sometimes death. Pedestrians need to understand this and respect the potential dangers.
  • Proper use: Pedestrians should know that they are not allowed to operate this equipment without proper training, even if it is to hop on a quickly moving lift truck to find the product they are seeking.
  • Reporting: Any unsafe conditions should be reported by pedestrians immediately to a supervisor. These include unsafe operation or conditions in the facility that create a potential for accident.
What you can do to minimize these potential dangers: As a manager or supervisor, you must ensure that each person entering your facility, whether he is another employee or a guest, understands these potential hazards and is alert for them when in your facility.
  • Training and briefing: Training pedestrians or employees who regularly enter your facility should be a requirement, whether the person is an employee, vendor, or other guest who is a regular visitor. If you have an occasional visitor, this guest should be briefed on what type of equipment you operate, how it operates, your safety procedures, and the need to be alert at all times.
  • Install lanes and pedestrian islands: Simple pedestrian lanes painted on the floor and training on how to use them are the ultimate scenario to protect pedestrians. Having protected islands for pedestrians to pack or perform other duties keeps them safe when working among forklifts.
  • Lighting: Provide adequate lighting in aisles and other areas to ensure maximum visibility.
  • Set speed limits: Finding the balance between maximizing productivity and creating a safe environment for employees is key. Aisle speeds and intersection speeds will vary and are different for each facility.
  • Install mirrors at intersections: Then, train employees and operators alike to use them to see what’s coming around the corner.
  • Ensure that all safety devices on all of your lift trucks are operational: Items like back-up alarms, horns, and lights should be checked daily to ensure operational effectiveness.
It takes only a few seconds of inattentiveness for an accident to occur. Training, informing, and monitoring produce a safe work environment and minimize your bottom line exposure, should an accident occur.
Safety is no accident, and if we can be of any service to you in creating a safe work environment, we are here to help.
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Forklift Fleet Optimization

TLI Forklift Fleet OptimizationPurchasing a new forklift or other material handling equipment can be expensive, but that’s just a fraction of what it costs to operate it efficiently, or inefficiently. Getting the most bang for your forklift buck means understanding the products you move and establishing baseline costs as a start. Here are 10 tips for optimizing your forklift fleet.

  1. Assess your fleet’s total cost. The cost of your forklift or material handling equipment is typically only about 20% of your total long-term cost. Find out what service is costing, parts, labor, break-downs, rentals, additional equipment kept on hand for break-downs, overtime resulting from down time etc… This can be a real eye opener.
  2. Optimize your forklift fleet by material flow. Determining what each piece of equipment is moving, where, when and how often can help you determine productivity and equipment choices. This way you can determine a lift truck’s cost per pallet move, rather than cost per operating hour.
  3. Find an integrated dealer that understands all facets of your business. Work with a company that not only sells equipment but understands all facets of material handling. These types of dealers can provide you with total solutions which encompass all the areas of your material handling operation.
  4. Get out of the service business. Get information and quotes for full maintenance leases from your dealer. You dealer knows your equipment better than you, and can maintain it to be more productive. Full maintenance takes the guess work out of total equipment operational costs by eliminating “surprise” repairs that often occur over time.
  5. If you perform your own service, look into parts programs. Parts availability is key to maintaining uptime, so an effective parts distribution network facilitated through a lift truck manufacturer and its local dealer is essential to keep your fleet running. Some dealers can provide parts for multiple brands and types of trucks. In addition, dealers will sometime consign parts to your facility, further improving your parts availability and uptime.
  6. Stay on top of equipment advancements. Like most facets of business, material handling advancements can improve your operation and productivity. Attend ProMat, stay connected with industry resources and work with a dealer that is on top of providing the latest in material handling products including forklifts, storage and retrieval and material moving equipment.
  7. Look into fleet management. Knowing the cost of operating equipment, where and how it is being utilized is key to allocation efficiency and productivity. Software programs are available that can provide you with this information. Work with a dealer that can provide these solutions to your operation.
  8. Invest in training early and often. Build a robust and active training program. Safety and productivity go hand in hand. Well trained operators and employees are proven to be more productive and safe. Training reduces your product and equipment damage costs, injury, insurance and many other latent costs of fleet and equipment operation.

Optimizing your materials handling operation takes a bit of work. However, working with an integrated materials handling partner will take a lot of the load off your shoulders and help you operate a more efficient and effective materials handling operation.

Give us a call at 800-322-LIFT to speak to one of our material handling professionals.

BYD Forklift Battery Difference

The BYD battery LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) is different from other types of Lithium battery powered products that have experienced safety issues, usually fire or over-heating. The BYD Iron Phosphate battery differs chemically from the typical Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LiCoO2) used in portable devices and cameras and has been thoroughly tested by BYD for safety.

BYD has subjected its Fe battery to multiple safety tests, from burning, to overheating, dropping, perforation, and crushing. The BYD lithium phosphate battery (Fe) has proven extremely safe, never losing structural integrity nor exploding.

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The BYD Lithium Iron Phosphate battery brings a revolution to the forklift industry, with the ultimate goal of providing a cheaper, cleaner and safer solution to the material handling industry.

Revolutionary cost-saving battery:
No more battery maintenance cost, no more spare battery cost, no more changing battery cost – a one-time investment that benefits your business from day one.

Revolutionary safe battery:
No more acid handling, no more flammable gases, no more manipulation of battery, no more battery maintenance –  a choice to make your business environment and community a better place to work and live in.

Revolutionary long-life battery:
No more battery changing, no more purchases of new batteries – a wise investment that minimizes your operating costs once and for all.

Extremely long life cycle:
The remaining capacity will be more than 70% after 15 years’ operation.

Extremely safe:
BYD the Fe battery does not emit flammable gases (hydrogen nor oxygen) as the other battery technologies do. As a result, explosions caused by gases are a physical impossibility.

Environmentally friendly:
The BYD Fe battery does not contain corrosive acid nor polluting heavy metals, as other technologies do, thus becoming the most environmentally friendly battery available.

Works well in extremely low temperatures:
Whether you work in cold climates or in refrigerated environments, the Fe battery will deliver more energy. As an example, at -40C, more than 60% of the energy stored is usable, which is not the case with the other technologies

BYD is no new player to this industry:
BYD is a high-tech company devoted to technological innovations for a better life. Founded in February 1995, BYD has grown from a start-up with only 20 employees into a global company with 220 thousand employees today. Throughout its 23 years of high-speed growth, BYD has established over 30 industrial parks across six continents and has played a significant role in industries related to electronics, automobiles, new energy and rail transit. From energy generation and storage to its applications, BYD is dedicated to providing zero-emission energy solutions. BYD is listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges, with revenue and market capitalization each exceeding RMB 100 billion. Learn more about BYD and why their forklifts truly are the future of forklifts in material handling.

See our BYD Electric Forklift line-up.

Tips to Lower Your Material Handling Costs

Reducing your costs means increasing your profits and increasing your profits has never been more challenging than in recent years.  Our experience with hundreds of various types of operations, utilizing hundreds of pieces of equipment in more than a thousand ways, has exposed us to thousands of variations in facilities, equipment, and applications. In working with these diverse clients, we have recognized commonalities that, when implemented, resulted in lower total operating costs for materials handling most of the time. Following are five that we highly recommend:

Choose Application-Specific Equipment – In other words, “buy the right equipment for the job at hand.” We often see equipment being used in applications for which they were not designed. That results in accelerated wear, increased damage and ultimately, increased costs. Working with professionals who can survey your applications and recommend the right equipment for each job is one of the most important things you can do to decrease overall costs.  Using the proper equipment with the right specifications means efficient, productive results.

Planned Maintenance – Your fleet equipment works hard. And hard-working equipment needs proper maintenance.  Working with a professional and reputable fleet service provider that serves you at appropriate intervals is the key to catching small maintenance issues, before they become larger and much more expensive. In addition, well-maintained equipment operates more efficiently, experiences more up-time and results in improved operator morale.

Invest in a Robust Training Program – Operator safety training is required by OSHA, and a daily inspection of equipment is one of OSHA’s requirements. Most companies train their operators regarding safe operation, but more often than not, the training stops there. Clients that invest in training employees to perform daily inspections, and to know what to look for, see results. If you install a process for equipment that will eventually need repair, you can ensure that unsafe equipment stays off the operating floor, and small repairs can be handled before they blossom into colossal nightmares.

Work With Single-Source Dealerships When Possible – The more work you can assign to a qualified and reliable supplier, the fewer calls you have to make. In turn, the supplier becomes more familiar with your equipment, facility and applications. This leads to greater efficiencies for you. It also allows your supplier to better understand your operation and thus make logical suggestions that can reduce your costs, increase your efficiency and productivity, and ultimately improve your bottom line.

Fleet Management – Whether you do it yourself or assign responsibility to your materials handling partner, fleet management is a key part of knowing the useful economic lifespan of your equipment. And economic lifespan may vary by application within your operation. If you keep a finger on the pulse of your maintenance expenses and know when it’s time to trade in or re-lease, that process will more than pay for itself in the long run.

There are hundreds of other things you can do to minimize the total operating costs of your facility. We have addressed some of them in previous feature articles. We hope that you have found these Top Five useful.  If we can assist you further, or provide you with more information, please contact us at 888-322-LIFT.

Forklift Cooling System Tips

Getting hot under the collar is about as good for your forklifts as it is for you.  Heat results in increased engine wear, part failure and lift truck maintenance expenses. Like most other facets of your operation, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and keeping your engine operating at recommended manufacturer temperatures will improve your productivity and bottom line.

If your lift trucks are inspected as part of a regular planned maintenance program with inspections being performed by trained lift truck professionals, it is likely that these elements of your cooling system are being inspected and abnormal wear is being brought to your attention. However, one oversight and the end result could be a repair bill mounting into the thousands.

Keeping your cool includes:

Replacing engine coolant with coolant, not water – Water in your coolant system can be a very short-term patch, but can result in long-term damage to your engine and early failure. Water has a lower boiling temperature than coolant and will cause your engine to run at a higher temperature, resulting in oil viscosity breakdown and undue engine wear.

Replacing hoses before you see damage – Hoses wear over time, often from the inside out. Inspect for leaks on a regular basis and replace hoses at manufacturers recommended intervals. Leaks can result in loss of coolant over time, increase engine temperature and lower performance. Hose failure and the resulting spill can produce a hazardous situation for everyone in the vicinity.

Keeping the pressure on – The coolant system is pressurized to raise the boiling point of the coolant. Radiator caps maintain the pressure in the system. When the cap is not functioning properly, coolant can boil out onto the floor at near normal operating temperatures, causing operators or technicians to incorrectly believe that the engine is overheating.  Pressure testing the radiator cap is the only sure way to maintain proper coolant system pressure.

Keeping Your Engine Properly Belted – An engine’s fan belt creates air flow over the engine, removing external surface heat.  It also drives the circulation of the engine’s coolant through the engine, keeping the internal temperature at normal operating limits. Worn belts can reduce the flow of coolant, increasing the temperature and creating a long-term problem for your engine. Belt failure can result in immediate overheating, engine damage and an expensive repair. Have your belts inspected for wear and replace them at factory suggested intervals to ensure proper coolant flow inside and out.

Inspecting your engine’s greatest fan – Driven by the fan belt to perform, a properly operating engine fan allows for the normal conduction of heat from the inside of the engine to the surface where the fan whisks away the excess heat. A cracked or damaged fan can reduce the effectiveness of the fan and increase engine temperature. Be sure to inspect the fan for wear and damage and replace it with a manufacturer’s suggested replacement. Heavy steel fans can produce undue wear on the engine and reduce the fan’s capacity to remove heat, or even create its own heat by increased demand for energy by a heavier fan.

Regular Coolant Fluid Replacement – Like oil, cooling system fluid has a recommended maximum useful life, and that can vary widely depending upon how your system was serviced and the type of coolant used to replace your current fluid.  Every engine and application is different so don’t solely rely on factory recommended intervals for a flush and refill. Consult with us about an application survey and we can assist you in setting a schedule for regular coolant replacement that makes sense for YOUR operation.

Having your forklift’s cooling system regularly serviced ensures maximum engine performance and useful life. It reduces your maintenance expenses and improves your productivity. Forklifts on the floor, operating are far more essential to your bottom line than they are when they’re sitting in our shop.

If your lift trucks are not on a regularly scheduled Planned Maintenance program, they should be. Let us take the worry out of what and when to inspect, letting you tend to the business of what you do best.

Visit our forklift services page to learn more about how we can help you maximize productivity and minimize costs of your material handling operation.

Forklift Safety Day, Southern California, What You Can Do

The Industrial Truck Association has announced it’s second annual Forklift Safety Day, to be held Tuesday, June 13. While most of you won’t be able to attend, there are things you can do to take advantage of this day to help create awareness about the dangers that forklifts present and how to minimize the potential for accidents that can result in injury or death, damage to your facility, equipment and financial losses.

We’ve compiled a short list of things you can do on June 13th to improve safety on and around your forklifts.

  1. Make sure all your forklift operators have been trained and that their refresher training is up to date, if applicable or necessary.
  2. Download our Forklift Operator Questionnaire to help you vet new operators about their actual experience and history with forklifts.
  3. Take time to teach your forklift operators the importance of daily inspections of their forklifts. Daily inspections reduce the risk of equipment failure and catch small problems before they blossom into giant ones. Download our IC Forklift Inspection Form and Electric Forklift Inspection Forms.
  4. Take some time to gather any staff that operates around forklifts, but not on them, to refresh them about the dangers of this equipment and how to be sure to use safe procedures when they are in an area of your facility where forklifts are being operated.
  5. Make sure all your forklift’s maintenance is up to date. If you have a Planned Maintenance Agreement, this would be a good time to review it with your service provider to ensure all standard checkpoints as well as unique equipment attachments are being inspected and maintained properly.
  6. Review any unique “site specific” features your facility may have and be sure your operators are aware of proper handling of equipment while on or around these features (ramps, areas where floors can be slick, floor substrates that vary etc…)
  7. Make sure that training is part of your company’s orientation for anyone that will or MIGHT operate a forklift. Remember, employees that have not been properly trained aren’t even allowed to sit on and start a forklift, much less move it out of the way of anything.
  8. Make sure you have lock-out kits to ensure that forklifts that do not pass an inspection are locked out immediately until repairs are made.
  9. Review all your forklifts for possible replacement. Old forklifts, or those that are getting “up there” in hours, might be potential threats. Review safety records and maintenance logs for your equipment. You might find this could be a good time to replace some or even all of your forklifts.-

Our goal is to help you operate safe, efficient and productive forklift equipment in and around the Southern California area. To discuss forklift safety, planned maintenance – or to get a quote on new equipment, please contact us at 800-322-5438.

FSD 2018